I Believe What You Believe


GodReflection: God Shares His Secret on Unity

garyguarujaI would sometime joke when asked how to raise funds for a Non-Profit Organization: “It’s easy just begin by telling a prospective donor, ‘I believe what you believe.’” Obviously, a person of integrity would never make such an assumption nor believe such an outlandish declaration.

Because each human being is wired and gifted by the Creator as a one-of-a- kind creation and is formed differently through years of unique experiences no two people believe exactly alike.

unity3So how is it possible to live in unity with another person who cannot mirror my belief system—much less attempt unity with millions of individuals who claim to follow a man called Jesus? Especially, when each one differs in the details of the life and worship of a Christ follower.

In Jesus’ last garden prayer, he prayed for the unity of all believers:

Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one . . . I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. (John 17:11&23)

In one sense his prayer was answered, in another sense it was not.

unity17His church stands unified in belief of Creator God. We share unity in our affirmation that Jesus is the Christ.

The church is in agreement that Jesus is the only means of salvation and we his disciples are his ambassadors to all the earth.

The church is united on belief in the death, burial, resurrection of Jesus and the hope found only in him.

Should I take the time and the space to do so, I’m sure I could compile a rather long list to demonstrate the unity and “oneness” we now experience as a fulfillment of Jesus’ John chapter seventeen prayer.

unity26However, we sin when we divide his body into rival church tribes, apply the war paint and throw spears and Satanic missiles at other Christ followers.

When I catch myself in this posture I stand as a roadblock to Jesus’ prayer.

It concerns me when I find myself as a participant in disunity through my own likes, dislikes and prejudices. I am ashamed when I promote a lack of Christ-like behavior by a commitment to my own unbiblical opinions.

unity22I would like to think I am making progress in being less of a disharmonizing person.

It continues to be an enigma to me how on the one hand I know we are all wired differently and think differently and then on the other hand expect others to embrace my opinions as their own.

Could it be that one purpose God has for our walk on earth is to help us gain wisdom in failures; and gain joy in our successes when we see Jesus’ garden prayer being fulfilled in small ways?

Could it be that a primary purpose of my walk on earth is to learn how to, make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:3) so that I can look forward to my next life when unity is the natural Holy-state of all eternity?

unity8I have a current role within God’s revealed secret of His desire for unity. I am to LEARN and to LEAN on His Spirit to be a man of peace.

In my struggle to do so, I am to share with my fellow travelers the secret of peace and unity found in Jesus. A secret learned and expressed through compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

And, all of that because He chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and unity16blameless in his sight . . . God did what He had purposed, and made known to us the secret plan He had already decided to complete by means of Christ.

This plan, which God will complete when the time is right, is to bring all creation together, everything in heaven and on earth, with Christ as head (Ephesians 1).

And, Jesus’ garden prayer will be answered in full.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection on The Secret of Unity

Gary@GodReflection.org     www.GodReflection.org

Living in a City with One King


denise-croppedFight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have confessed so well before many witnesses. And I charge you before God, who gives life to all, and before Christ Jesus, who gave a good testimony before Pontius Pilate, that you obey this command without wavering. Then no one can find fault with you from now until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. For at just the right time Christ will be revealed from heaven by the blessed and only almighty God, the King of all kings and Lord of all lords. He alone can never die, and he lives in light so brilliant that no human can approach him. No human eye has ever seen him, nor ever will. All honor and power to him forever! Amen. – I Timothy 6:12-16

soldier-604075__180What is it about citizenship that blesses the citizen? Is it the rights and comforts one is afforded, or is it the peaceful connections with our family and neighbors? I guess it is both. But what good are rights and comforts when neighbors and family members are hurting? We desire healing, peace and comfort for our loved ones. Yet, when we live in good fellowship with other men and women, our rights seem irrelevant, yet we are comfortable and funtioning.

I might even suggest good citizenship has more to do with being than having.

people-378037__180Being presently able to be in conversation and at peace with all men and women where possible says more about who I am than anything I have ever owned or accomplished. Being mindful in the present says more about me than my history and future ideas.

As a Christian, it’s a joy to reflect being a citizen ruled by a King who forgives past sins and holds the future that I not worry about either.

There is a saying in the business world attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson: “The speed of the leader determines the rate of the pack.”

fdr-860668__180

FDR Memorial

 

 

The citizenry are a reflection of the leadership.

 

 

person-371015__180

As a disciple of Christ, I follow my big brother Jesus who also happens to be my attorney before God when I am troubled or in trouble, I am comforted and instructed by God’s Holy Spirit dwelling in me, all which keep me tethered to the King of all Kings, God the Creator, my Heavenly Father and ultimate judge.

hammer-802302__180I guess this is why fighting, inappropriate judgements leading to gossip and slander trouble God. It divides the unity of the spirit of peace God desires to pervade each citizen and quadrant of his kingdom.

Isn’t it wonderful when we can live at peace together? Won’t it be wonderful to live forever in a city where there will be no territorial wars, divisions over points of view, conquering armies jealous of their neighbor’s wealth?

we-566327__180One King. One heart. One mind.

What am I doing today to live out my Kingdom citizenship in a way that attracts other foreigners into God’s story?

Just wondering

Fruit Trait: Peace (Dad Huff)


denise-croppedBut the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law – Galatians 5:22-23

Dad took me fishing a couple of week’s ago.Fishing

I caught a fish the first couple of minutes I was there and that was it. I was done for the rest of the time we were out on the pond. Dad caught a fish and then the turtles began circling the bobbers and it was time to go!

Dad loves God and enjoys nature. I think that’s why his mission to build a Christian youth camp in Brazil was so successful. It was built from his heart with the Biblical and architectural skills he learned in college. It was also built from a love of being outdoors and witnessing God’s powerful creation as the backdrop to teaching young people about the revealed Word of God.

God opened up an opportunity in the mid-1960s to begin dreaming about the camp.

I must have been three or four years of age. I recall the day almost as if it were today. I remember it in first person and imagine it as a movie scene as well.

My father was sitting in our rocking chair in the living room. I am guessing it was either early morning or late afternoon with the sun shining directly into our front window.

I was next to him and he picked me up and sat me on one knee.

“Do you know what a camp is?”

Puzzled I replied, “no.” But I was curious.

“Well, it’s a place young people can go and learn about Jesus.” I believe he also elaborated on some of the fun activities available in such an environment.

Fast forward years later. In my mind’s eye, I see that moment as a movie scene. The silhouettes of father and young daughter sitting in a chair against the backlight of the sun beaming through a full plate glass window with sheers.

1967.Lynn clearing AMOCamp Mount of Olives is 44 years old this year. It’s been a place of peace, a place where Jesus comes alive as much as He ever is. He comes alive in the love the young people have for each other. He lives through the teachings of the leaders in and out of class. He lives in the laughter of those who sit along the hillside singing songs, telling stories and bouncing jokes back and forth. His character shines in the sportsmanship among those who love playing sports and hiking the trails.

The campers invented a motto back in my day. I goes like this, “Eu amo o AMO.” It means, “I love AMO,” the acronym for the camp in Portuguese (Acampamento Monte das Oliveiras).

We loved it then, and young people love it today!

Sitting by the pond a couple of weeks ago with Dad reminded me of the peace I felt every time we went to the camp during its formative years, carved out of Brazilian virgin forest and shaped into the heart of Jesus.

Those days were adventurous, with my father being the first Indiana Jones-type figure I ever knew in person, but looked more like Clark Kent! Underneath it all lies the heart of a lion with the gentleness of a lamb in all he does.

There’s so much more I could say about Dad. But mainly I can say he is a man of peace, always seeking to make peace and lead anyone to the Prince of Peace for their ultimate benefit.

Thank you God for my father who exemplifies peace every day, in work, rest, humor and focus. Bless the work of his hands as he seeks to reflect Christ to those around him today.

Amazing!

Reproducible


The church is what it is. It is not reproducible. There is only one church. Jesus is building it.

What is reproducible is a Christ follower. One beggar tells another the source of bread. God’s plan to reunite humankind with Him through Jesus Christ is the story of Scripture.

Since Acts chapter 2, one after another, the Holy Spirit reproduces followers of Jesus day after day, month after month, year after year, and century after century.

And, Jesus wants to see me set the power of the Holy Spirit free to reproduce spiritual fruit in my life.

Paul, in writing to Christians—living in what would be present day Turkey—focuses on Jesus. He first quotes Jesus, as he reminds believers that the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

fruitsHe then thinks of Jesus in terms of the fruit produced by following the Son: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control—all taught by Jesus in the four Gospels.

Spiritual fruit is reproducible.

Christ followers producing fruit assemble with one another as God’s children.

Scripture refers to these groups as fellowships, assemblies, and church. These groups too are reproducible. Throw in the word congregation, and we use mostly these four descriptors for the church that meets around the globe.

Here is what I find to be interesting: These groups are only reproducible to the extent that they produce the spiritual fruit of Jesus.

The only way to tell if a church belongs to the body of Christ is its overflowing witness of love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Star-Quilt-DetailAt the end of the day, there is only one church. It is the one built by Jesus. It is Jesus’ church. I have no say in it. I can’t reproduce it. I can only belong.

What I can do is decide to follow Jesus, share His cross gift with others, and work on growing the fruit of Christ within my life and assist others as they attempt to do the same.

That is reproducing the reproducible.

I think God might reproduce His smile on all of us if we could get this one teaching right.

Stay tuned.

Gary J. Sorrells on Cross Church